A no-deal WTO Brexit crisis summit has been called by the PM in the thick of fears that cabinet in-fighting is damaging the UK's negotiating position.
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Cabinet ministers were told by Theresa May on Friday, to get ready for a meeting on Thursday 13th September to talk about making plans and allocating money to any crucial areas not yet covered by no-deal Brexit planning.
According to the Express:
"One source said that the meeting in September was needed in order to decide whether the UK could really hold up if a no deal scenario were to unfold.
"And another raised concerns that some departments are better prepared than others, saying the meeting would decide how much funding will be spent and where."
Oh, that all that WTO Brexit planning had been done first, we might well not be then seeing all this rushing about now.
And on evidence of Tory in-fighting, if any more was actually needed, the Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab, dismissed his Chancellor's talk of huge economic damage being caused by a WTO Brexit by telling the Financial Times that he's "…always chary of any forecast because most of them have been proved to be wrong", and adding "We need to treat some of the forecasts with a measure of caution".
He also said that most people think the country will be better off outside the EU long term and that they just want their government to get on and deliver the UK withdrawal. And that, he said, is what we're going to do.
This of course came after the Brexit Secretary tried to scotch the scare stories aired in the previous weeks, with the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, then within hours injecting more fear into the mix with his predictions of no-deal fiscal doom and fellow Tory Remainer Nicky Morgan leaping on it as proof we must have a deal come what may.
I don't think any amount of crisis meetings etc will snuff out this now open warfare between ministers – unless the sackings start. But of course with the PM herself in such a weak position as well as a wafer thin voting majority only there courtesy of the DUP, that is unlikely.
Moving on, the former European Council president and someone much derided by Nigel Farage as the man with the charisma of a damp rag, Herman Van Rumpoy, claims that a no-deal Brexit risks the break up of the UK, because Scotland would be hard hit and so presumably give the SNP impetus to mount a campaign for another independence referendum.
According to the Guardian, Mr Rumpoy said that 'operation fear' was a new tactic being used by the government, but that it would not work against the EU – so I assume he thinks it is aimed at the EU, when in my opinion it appears to be aimed squarely at the UK populace.
If Theresa May had really wanted to scare the EU she'd have put no-deal planning at the front of the agenda and would not have agreed to a £39 billion so called Brexit divorce bill.
Anyway, van Rumpoy also said:
"We could end up with a situation in which the EU27 becomes more united and a United Kingdom less united. This talk about a ‘no deal’ is the kind of nationalist rhetoric that belongs to another era."
So, a devoted EU superstate lover pillories the nation state but talks about a more united EU27 and doesn't see the irony?
But all recent indications are that it is completely the opposite, the EU27 seams are stretching to breaking point and any intra-nationalist desires within the UK appear to be ebbing somewhat.
Now for the latest post, no-deal WTO Brexit scare you probably hadn't considered! Horse racing, with the BBC reporting The Grand National could be hit by a WTO Brexit – note the word 'could'.
The report says that the Tripartite agreement set up between Ireland, the UK and France to move thoroughbred animals, which is a derogation to the European Community Regulation covering the movement of horses, could come to an end without a Brexit deal.
This would, it is feared, make it harder to get horses from outside the UK to the Grand National, which would possibly hit the participation of Irish horses in the race hardest.
The warning that horse movements could be more difficult came from Ross Hamilton of the British Horse Racing Authority, who then spoiled the BBC scare story somewhat by adding:
"We do get horses from further afield than France and Ireland to compete in our races and we have an established procedure in place to deal with those countries."
When you look at all this anti-Brexit stuff being continually hurled in our faces together with all the political manoeuvring going on at every level to try and keep the UK locked by whatever means inside the EU, it is hard not to agree with Richard Tice and John Longworth of Leave Means Leave when they say that "The next six months will be nothing less than a Battle for Britain". Writing in the Telegraph some days ago they said:
"None of us imagined that, two years on, we would have to refight the battle. We never dreamt that we would have to attack some desperate “Chequers” proposal from the Prime Minister, which led to the resignation of two of the most influential Brexit-supporting Cabinet ministers.
"None of us feared being let down by other Cabinet Brexiteers, who we thought we could trust. Today, they are trying to sell thin gruel to Brexit voters as if it were some sort of delicacy. It is a con, and must be exposed as such."